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Hezbollah Member Killed by Car Bomb

The extremist group, which says the man had taken part in many operations, blames the killing on Israel.

August 03, 2003|From Reuters

BEIRUT — A powerful car bomb killed a member of Lebanon's Hezbollah on Saturday. The militant group blamed the attack on Israel.

Witnesses said the blast gouged a gaping hole in the ground in one of Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold.

The Shiite Muslim group called the dead man, Ali Hussein Saleh, a martyr and one of its "holy warriors," according to accounts of the bombing on the group's television station. Security sources identified Saleh as a Lebanese driver for the Iranian Embassy.

"Hezbollah laments one of its moujahedeen," a presenter on Al Manar station said. "Hezbollah mourns Ali Hussein Saleh, who perished in an explosion in his car this morning."

The witnesses said the force of the blast propelled the car about 10 yards. A passerby was badly wounded, security sources said.

Hezbollah was quick to point the finger at Israel, saying in a statement: "All information available since this morning proves beyond a doubt complete Israeli responsibility for this heinous crime."

Israeli officials declined to comment.

Iran denied any connection to the victim.

Documents retrieved from the car identified the body as that of Saleh, a 42-year-old from the town of Brital in Lebanon's Bekaa valley, a traditional Hezbollah power base.

Hezbollah said in a statement that Saleh had joined the group after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It noted that he had taken part in many operations.

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